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John Milton studied at Cambridge in 162. in the same year lived at Horton where he devoting himself to poetry. In 1638 he travelling in France and Italy.  In this period there was the Civil War and Milton return to England. He was a puritan and in 1648 he became a Latin Secretary to Cromwell's Council of State. He was a great poet and dedicated his life to poetry.

He died in 1674 in London

His poetry can be divided in three period.

The first Period (1629 - 1639) he written his Earlier poems and they are :

Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity;

L'allegro e il Pensieroso (1632)


The second period (1639 - 1660) he written Prose works and sonnets:

  • Lycidas
  • The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce;
  • Of  the tenure of King and Magistrates (written after Charles I's execution

The third period (1660 - 1674) his represented by his Later masterpieces and they are:

  • Paradise Lost, that it's a epic poem dealing with the fall of Adam, i.e. of Man;
  • Paradise Regained, that describing Christ's temptation by Satan;
  • Samson Agonists, the depicting the last days of Samson while a prisoner of the Philistines.


Milton had a interpretation of the Christian faith and in his works he expressed his political ambitions, hopes, suffering and sorrows.

The poem Paradise Lost and Samson Agonist are a works autobiography, because in the period in which he wrote them, he was in the position analogues Adam and Eve. Satan is similar Milton because he represented the heroic rebel.


Milton was the great poet of the 17th century and this is apparent in:

  • His classical erudition;
  • His deeply religious and Protestant assertion of freedom;
  • His republican and anti-monarchist ideals.

His versification influenced many 18th century poets.

The influence of Latin is evident in his use of blank verse.


The poem is a poetic representation of original sin: Adam's fall and he was inspired by the biblical book of Genesis.

The plot may be summarized as follows:

After being thrown down from Heaven to Hell together his rebel angels, Satan decides to temps Adam and Eve. They eventually repent, they are driven from Paradise out into the world. They are accompanied by the archangel Michael who shown them the future of the human race.

The poems has a third great protagonist: Satan.

Satan resembles the traditional heroic leader struggling in defence of his cause. He will never submit.

Milton's vision of Hell are different from Dante's.

Milton's Hell is still dominated by chaos. In this chaos Satan rises and speak, he feel equal to God, who defeated him only by force, and not by reason.


It is modelled on Greek tragedies and this is apparent because there are:

  • A respect of the three unities (time, action, place);
  • The presence of a chorus;
  • The presence of a message;
  • A dramatic purpose.

The source in the famous biblical episode in which Samson loses the strength derived from his long hair after being betrayed by his wife Delilah.

Milton must have realized the similarities existing between his own circumstances and those of Samson.


Milton wrote 23 sonnets, five of which in Italian.

In his sonnets he turned to the Petrarchan form. The modified version made by Giovanni dalla Casa.

He was in fact the first to consider the sonnets as a whole.


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